THE WARLORD #27

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“Atlantis Dying”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Morgan has gone through the Eye of Truth to do his life over from the beginning. The eye took him literally and he is now a caveman in a life and death struggle with a sabertooth. He loses this battle then finds himself in his next life. Morgan was the scientist in Atlantis who discovered the process of pumping seawater into volcanos to generate steam. Unfortunately this process is the cause for the fabled continents destruction. Later he continues on through many different lives throughout history. Some are famous like Lancelot, D’Artagnan, Jim Bowie and Crazy Horse. Some are obscure like a Nubian slave who dies in the arena or a farmboy from Iowa in WWI. All though have a common thread of being a warrior.

Finally Morgan comes to his current self on that fateful day in 1969. He can walk away and none of the pain he caused will happen. But what of Tara? Who would save her from the dinosaur that was attacking her? Or Machiste chained to a slave galley? Or all the other countless lives he helped? So he continues on with the mission and finds himself back at the Temple of the Sun. He takes care of Chakal and with no memory of what happened decides to continue on for a better future.

This was an interesting story. A fascinating look at the past lives of Travis Morgan. Also a look at the origin of Skartaris with the destruction of Atlantis. Of course the main point of the story is for Morgan to accept his past and move on. A unique story that I enjoyed.

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THE HULK! #27

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“Feudin'”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Bruce is hitchhiking when he is given a ride by a friendly trucker. This trucker then picks up an attractive woman and has Bruce go back in the trailer. The woman turns out to be a hijacker who with her hillbilly family hijack truck trailers. They find Bruce in the back and he gets involved in their schemes. The Hulk finally comes out after a bully wants to beat up Banner.

“Happy Accidents”
By Steven Grant

An article on the history of the Hulk. His green color came about after the grey color did not show up clearly in the first issue. An interesting article on the Hulk.

“One For My Baby–And One More For The Hulk”
Writer: Marc DeMatteis
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartaglione

The Hulk wanders into Las Vegas and starts tearing up a casino. Later he calms down and the shirtless Banner is tossed out for being a bum. A showgirl takes pity on him and gives Banner a meal and change of clothes. The showgirl is the girlfriend of the lounge singer. Banner changes into the Hulk when mob thugs attack them. The lounge singer tries to use the Hulk to get out from under the mob but the Hulk is not something anyone can control.

So this is the final issue for the Hulk magazine. A suppose there are many reasons for its demise. An editorial at the beginning cites poor distribution and the constant change of staff working on the book. There is some truth to that. The ’80s saw the demise of the black and white comic magazines and this one was a casualty of the trend. My personal belief is the format they adopted. Its said that what worked for the comic series couldn’t work for the TV series. The reverse could be true. It tried too much to copy the series when the comic format called out for over the top battles with aliens and super-villains. It alienated comic fans and failed to draw fans of the TV series.

Now of course the stories had a hit or miss quality throughout its run. It successfully launched Moon Knight into its own series. I liked it and thought it ended with a quality issue. Two solid stories and a decent article. I always enjoyed these large magazine comics as a kid. So we will move on to something different next Sunday.

SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #2 DARK RISING

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“Dark Rising”
Writer: Todd Livingston & Steven E De Souza
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs

Sheena is left for dead on the beach and the Nazis then turn their attention on Kellerman and Ransome. The Nazis are old men now augmented by cybernetics and still have the dream of restoring the Reich. Kellerman and Ransome manage to fight their way out and are immediately captured by a tribe wearing Nazi paraphernalia. Sheena is not dead but has the power to stop her heart for ten minutes. She manages to rescue her friends from the Nazi headhunters and the three go back to the U-boat. At the end the person she was there to rescue Mr. Orrico is part of the Nazis.

So there are Nazis in the jungles of Val Verde. You can never go wrong with Nazis as your enemy. Throw in some headhunters that seem to worship the Nazis and goofy Nazis retro science and you have a fun story. Interested to see what nefarious plan they have in store.

KA-ZAR #3

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“Night of the Man-God!”
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artist: Don Heck

Maa-gor the Man-Ape survived the destruction of the red wizards castle and wanders off. He goes to the mystic mists which transform him. They turn him into a powerful being with intelligence and psychic powers. He is now Maa-gor the Man-God and he wants to use his new powers for conquest. First he mentally reaches out and contacts a criminal in South American called El Tigre. El Tigre comes to the Savage Land and together the two manage to defeat Ka-zar and enslave Zabu under their mental control.

Luckily Bobbi Morse was monitoring El Tigre and followed him to the Savage Land. She revived Ka-zar who goes off for round two. He manages to snap Zabu out of the hypnotism and both are ready to release a can of whopp-ass on the two villains.

So the writers decided to upgrade Maa-gor into a more powerful being. Probably a good idea since the man-ape was dumb as a tree stump. They also brought back Ka-zar’s old flame Bobbi Morse. The real exciting thing in this issue is a full two page map of the Savage Land. It shows the exact location in Antarctica. The land apparently has concentric rings with the outer ones inhabited by various dinosaurs and the inner one with a large inland sea where the human inhabitants live. A very handy tool to visualize where the place is and the local geography.

SCOUT HANDBOOK AN ATLAS TO SURVIVAL IN NEW AMERICA

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A book about the world of Scout in 2003. It includes maps of both America and the world. The various weapons and vehicles including the giant robots that have appeared. It also has personal profiles of Scout and the major characters that have appeared in the series. Finally it has a world history for this fictional alternate reality.

I really enjoyed this issue. It filled in a lot about the series that we sometimes only got glimpses of in the stories. The world is just wild. Its like some wet dream of Vladimir Putin. The Soviet Union has become the preeminent world power. They control India, Pakistan, Scandinavia, France, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and all of Central/South America and Mexico. They also have a cozy alliance with Canada and a lucrative trade deal with Japan.

The other world power is the Israeli Consolidated State. Israel allied themselves with Egypt and Italy to eventually take over all of north Africa from Morocco to Somalia. They have Spain, Italy ,Greece Turkey and what looks like Yugoslavia on the map. They also control all the Arabian peninsula with Iraq and Iran under their control. Wow that is wild. A very far fetched vision of the future. Oh and Switzerland includes all of Germany, Austria, Denmark and what looks like Hungary and Romania.

So in this future the U.S. suffered a series of natural and man-made disasters. The San Andreas fault went and with it the west coast of California. Nuclear meltdowns in Pennsylvania and the South. A trade embargo from most of the now Socialist world. They were forced to give up Alaska to what is now a buffer state between Canada and the Soviets. They are now a poor third world country and currently in a civil war between the Southwest Free States and the Federal government which now calls itself New America.

The history is sort of a reverse from what really happened. In this reality its the U.S. that fell apart economically and politically while the Soviets were the opposite. It was normal at the time in the ’80s to view Communism as an irresistible movement that would continue to expand. What’s new is the portrayal of what happens to America. Normally they would somehow be taken over either through force or an apathy on the public. In this the country is so poor that nobody even cares to take it over. Kind of a sobering outlook that gave this series a unique feel for a dystopian future. A very enjoyable series.

THE WARLORD #26

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“The Challenge”
Writer & Artist: Mike Grell

Chakal is crawling through the show after being left for dead by Morgan. Deimos comes and offers him a chance at revenge if he swears loyalty to him. Meanwhile Morgan and Ashir reach the Temple of the Sun. After killing a dragon they find the temple empty. A creepy parrot tells that the keepers of the key can access the Eye of Truth. Morgan notices that the amulet Ashir has can be broken into parts and one of them fits into the alter. When he inserts the piece an image of Tara appears to condemn him. A beam points out subsequent places to insert a piece of the amulet.

The two then go through with confronting the demons of their respected pasts. For Morgan its him having to kill his son and abandoning Tara and his friends. For Ashir its that he is the rightful king of Khambuka. He left when he couldn’t face the responsibility and has suffered guilt ever since. When they are done a ball of energy appears the Eye of Truth. Disappointed that its not a jewel the two are about to leave when the parrot says that Morgan could go back in his life and do things different. He accepts and steps into the eye. After that Chakal appears with a new arm that’s now a laser rifle. And Morgan finds himself a caveman confronting a sabretooth.

So this was an interesting issue. It has our two heroes expecting a jewel but finding instead themselves. The two have a lot in common in both are running from responsibility. Morgan finally has to confront the mistakes he has made and this was a great way to do it. A very introspective story with an ending that was very intriguing. And it shows that Deimos is still around causing trouble. An important story in Morgan coming to terms with killing his son.

THE HULK! #26

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“Namaste”
Writer: Marc DeMatteis
Artist: Gene Colan & Alfredo Alcala

After the Hulk rampages in Times Square, Banner finds himself wandering the streets in his torn shirt. He bumps into a woman who offers him help. She invites him to go with her to a religious retreat in upstate New York. He finds out that Baba Shanti the guru who runs the place is his old college roommate. There is also trouble from the local residents. A syndicate wants to open a casino and bring jobs to the area but they want the compound that is occupied by the religious cult. They set a fire and kidnap the girl. A riot brings out the Hulk.

“Where Troops Have Encamped”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Bruce Banner accompanies a friend who is visiting her sister. The sister lives on a compound of survivalists who believe civilization is coming to an end. When leaving they get a flat tire and go back. They finds the survivalists practicing with machine guns and flamethrowers. The survivalists take them prisoner and when they try to escape the woman is shot in the leg. This brings out the Hulk.

“Oh Boy-Hulk Toys
By Lora Byrne

Pictures of the Marvel staff checking out Hulk toys. A filler article.

“The River”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartaglione

Bruce is camping when a rain storm comes. The storm floods the river and carries off Banner who changes into the Hulk. The Hulk is helpless against the raging flow of the river.

This magazine was devoted all to the Hulk and I liked that. Didn’t miss the absence of Dominic Fortune. The stories were solid and interesting. I really liked the River. It showed the Hulk in a position of helplessness that is not usually seen. I think the magazine was on to adapting a solid format but it was too late by this time to save it.

SHEENA QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE #1 DARK RISING

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“Dark Rising”
Writers: Steven E De Souza & Todd Livingston
Artist: Lee Ferguson

Sheena as Rachel Cardwell is partying on a cruise ship when it is attacked by a group of armed men. They seem to rob the passengers but they were there for something else. The ship is now riding higher so they must have taken some cargo. They also kidnapped an old friend of the Cardwell family. So Sheena dons the leopard skins and takes off into the jungle with Kellerman and Ransome following. They avoid headhunters and come upon a U-boat flying the Nazi flag. The three are knocked out by darts and Sheena finds herself strapped to a chair. Given drugs to talk she goes into shock and we end with the doctor saying she dies with a Nazi in a wheelchair sitting in the shadows.

So a new series starts off to a dramatic start. We have Sheena and her friends battling headhunters. There is a mystery in what the armed men are up to. They seem to be friendly with the local headhunter tribe. There are Nazis that are part of this. And it ends with Sheena dying. A real cliffhanger and can’t wait for the next issue.

KA-ZAR #2

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“The Fall of the Red Wizard!”
Writer: Mike Friedrich
Artists: Don Heck & Jack Abel

Ka-zar and Shanna are held prisoner by the Red Wizard. He wants both of them to sacrifice themselves to appease the god Garrokk and save the Savage Land. Well neither of the two have any interest and with the help of Zabu manage to escape. Leaving the castle Shanna tells her story of how she got to the Savage Land. Pterodactyls grabbed her in Africa and flew all the way to Antarctica.

The two arrive at the Fall People and Ka-zar’s friend Tongah. A rampaging Triceratops attacks the village. It is a sign that the environment is failing and the people turn on Ka-zar for not being a sacrifice. Escaping the village Shanna convinces Ka-zar to go back and be willing sacrifices. Shanna does have a plan and instead of submitting to sacrifice destroys the flaming cauldron. She exposes the wizard as using a robot dinosaur and pterodactyls. The wizard escapes leaving behind his disguise. The Fall People realize their mistake and Shanna goes off to find her father.

So the Red Wizard is exposed as a fraud and defeated. But he has escaped and Ka-zar doesn’t know his true identity so that villain will surely continue to be a threat. The big news is it is the first meeting with Shanna. She is a great fit for the Savage Land and is destined to become a regular part of Ka-zars’ life. There was already an attraction between them. A strong start to Ka-zar’s new series.

SCOUT #24

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“Sittin’ On Top Of The World”
Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

The world is heading toward a world war. The two major superpowers the Soviet Union and the Israeli Consolidated States are in open conflict. Monday the Eliminator has a plan. Using a space shuttle and a Soviet operative he and Scout infiltrate Skybase 5. Skybase 5 the ‘Hammer of Peace’ is a floating missile platform in space with over five hundred nuclear missiles. Monday floods the station with a nerve gas killing the thousand personal aboard. He then gives the world governments an ultimatum. Stop the fighting or he will launch the missiles.

This is the final issue in this series. It comes to a dramatic conclusion. I thought it was interesting way to end the fighting. Monday is immortal and with supplies for a thousand he can sit up in space alone monitoring the Earth. Of course while the major conflict is ended there will still be plenty of minor conflicts. The U.S. is already in a Civil War. This will be explored in two mini-series that will bridge the gap between the ending of this series and the new War Shaman. So Scout is definitely coming back.